This video is part of a course.

Class #4330

Grounding and Balance

30 min - Class


The Pilates Daily with Gia Calhoun continues with this grounding Reformer class. You will focus more on strengthening the lower half of your body and improving your balance with exercises such as Russian Splits. Find your stability and power and root yourself in your body.
What You'll Need: Reformer (No Box)

About This Video

Feb 18, 2021
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Hi, I'm Gia and today we're gonna do a reformer class. That's gonna ground you and also challenge your balance a little bit. It's a little bit more focused on the lower body. So just be prepared to get your legs moving. So we're gonna start with foot work.

I have three reds and one blue spring on feel free to do whichever spring choice you'd like. And then I'm gonna start in a Pilates V with your heels together toes apart. Knees are in line with the toes, not too wide just about as wide as my shoulder blocks to take a deep inhale as I stretch long exhale to come back in, really focusing on keeping the heels glued together and stretch and bend grounding down in the pelvis. Getting it anchored spine is nice and long. We'll do four more and three finding that nice midline in the body.

The next one are gonna come halfway in. We'll do little pulses we're gonna pulse for eight, seven, six, five, one inch in, one inch out, three, two, one stretch all the way out. And then bend come all the way in and we're gonna come to parallel on the arches legs glued together and then we're gonna push all the way out. So I'm trying to wrap my foot around the bar. Toes are over heels are reaching under I'm right in the center of my foot.

Legs are hugging together, lengthening and contracting. Two more, last one, coming halfway in, little pulses for eight, seven, six. Try not to bounce, keeping that control, three, two, one stretch long and then come all the way in slide up to your heels. Flex the toes back, inhale stretch out, exhale to return. So I'm trying to stand in the center of my heels, all five toes back.

I have a habit of just trying to flex my big toe. So I wanna make sure the baby toes out of my foot is working too. We have two more, hugging those legs together last one, halfway and little pulses for eight, seven, six trying to use the backs of my legs. So it's not just the quads. Last one, stretched it long.

Find that length come all the way in. I'm gonna come onto the toes. Heels are nice and high, stretch all the way out. And then back in to, again, the weights over the big toe in the second toe, but all five toes are on the bar. We have four more, three, keep breathing two.

Last one, halfway in little pulses for eight, seven, keep those heels high, five, four, three, two. My heels are shaking. Stretch all the way out and then come back in. Good, second position on the heels. Feet are wide toward the corners.

Turn out from the hips stretch all the way out and then return in. So I'm rotating from the hips trying to wrap around the legs. Three, finding that nice extension in the legs, four more, three it's nice moderate pace to get the body moving little pulses, for eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one stretch long. And then come back in. Now we're gonna come back to parallel.

Heels lifted on the balls of the feet. Push all the way out. Keep the legs straight, lower, both heels under the bar. Squeeze your glutes to lift up and lower and lift. Try not to lock the knees, pull up in the abdominals and lift we're gonna have four more working those curves trying to connect to the hamstrings and glutes.

Two more, last one, bend your knees. Come all the way in. Hug your legs into your chest. And then we're gonna come on up and we're gonna go into the hundred. So I'm gonna take off one red, one blue spring.

So I just left with two reds and then lie down on your back. Skewed away from your shoulder rest just a little bit, and then grab onto your straps and bring my legs to tabletop, legs glued together. Hands are gonna come right over the shoulders. Connect into your shoulder girdle, take a deep inhale here. Exhale, push your arms down your head up.

Stretched legs out to your a hundred position and pump the arms. Inhale two, three, four, five, exhale, inhale and exhale. Keep curling the chest up inhale. So you're not just in this position. You're constantly trying to curl up higher.

So that way you don't lower down, inhale and exhale. Halfway there inhale, if you wanna lower your legs a little bit, go for it, exhale, inhale and exhale. Keep reaching those arms and legs long. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. One more inhale and exhale and rest.

Take a breath, elbows are gonna come in by your sides. I'm gonna do coordination. So I'm gonna keep your head up the entire time. Just take a deep inhale. As you exhale, curl up into a little ball elbows by your side, knees into your chest and chest is lifted.

We're gonna inhale as you reach legs on arms out open close, bend the knees in, arms bend, stretch out, open close, knees curl up higher and then bend the arms. Stretch out, open close, curl up higher as knees come into your chest. Open, close, hold in, two more. Open, close, in and bend. Last one, bend the arms, rest your head.

We're gonna stay in the same springs. We're gonna bring your feet in the straps. So one foot in hold that foot there and then bring the other foot in. So I'm gonna stretch legs out. Legs are straight, I'm gonna point my toes.

Feel free to flex if you'd like, I'm gonna turn out from the hips. I'm gonna open the legs close and then I'm gonna keep the heels together. As I bend the knees and stretch. So we open close. I like to flex on my frogs and then point again as I straightened, open, close, bend, stretch.

So for me the challenge is keeping my heels together when I bend because when you do a normal frogs, you can kind of just keep the connection the whole time, but this you lose the contact and you have to re-establish it every time and bend, open, close, bend, two more. Last one, open, close, bend. Now I wanna keep the legs turned out heels together, toes apart and a bend into a diamond. It's kind of a long diamond shape. And then I like to keep my feet flex again just cause it feels better for me on the straps keeping this diamond shape, tailbone stays down.

You're gonna lift the legs up toward the ceiling and then lower them back down toward the springs. So feet come up to the ceiling and then they lower. So I'm keeping the same diamond shape the whole time nothing's moving and it's hinging at the hips and thinking of pushing from the backs of my legs slower. So it's not my feet. It's more from the glutes almost.

And then I'm using those inner thighs to help wrap around rotating from the hips. Do two more, trying to keep the knees in line of the toes. So I'm not just turning out from the feet. Good stretch the legs, this point, the toes for circle up and around this part should feel nice. Try to let it be as free as you can while keeping the stability in your tarsal.

Just let it move up and around. You have two more. Make sure you're not arching as you lower and reverse and then make sure your tailbone is not lifting up and the legs come up to the ceiling. Try to keep that anchor down. Find the breathing that works for you.

Four more, reach the legs long, fluid movements last two and last one. Good just bring the soles of your feet together. Come into a little frog stretch. You can either pull on the straps and have them come toward you. Or you can rest the feet on the carriage.

I prefer pulling my feet in and then letting my elbows push my knees out. Just to stretch out my inner thighs a little bit for this one it's okay, if your tailbone comes up a little bit, take one more deep breath and exhale. And then we'll take your feet out of the straps. You can take one foot out, bring it onto the foot bar the other foot out onto the foot bar and then control yourself back in, hang up your straps. And then we're gonna change the springs.

So I'm gonna have just one red spring on take off the other and then when you come onto your knees facing the shoulder rests so you want your feet off the edge of the carriage. That way you can kind of hook your toes around the front it's gonna help you with your balance and then grab onto the straps. You're gonna keep your long spine but you're gonna hinge from your hips and sit back toward your heels. So it's gonna in like a Z shape and it's gonna counterbalance your arms going back. So keeping your arms straight you're gonna pull your shoulders down your back and then just pull your arms by your sides and then bring them forward.

Just like you would do in chest expansion. You're just in a little bit of a hip hinge, right? So it's working those back stabilizers, working your abdominals and working your legs for full body exercise. We're gonna do to two more, we're gonna be lengthening out through the arms lengthen out through the top of the head. Now we're gonna pull your arms back and hold this time.

Elbow stay by your side. So you're gonna bend your arms and stretch, bend for little tricep, press stretch. Try not to let the elbows move around too much. They're just right by my sides. Pretty narrow and back, bend, stretch, two more.

Last one, good. Bring the arms forward with control. Hang up your straps and we're gonna turn around this time, I'm gonna have my toes on the carriage heels against the shoulder wrist. And I'm gonna grab my straps again. So if you wanna make it a little bit lighter it's definitely okay to do a blue.

It's just gonna challenge your balance a little bit more. So I'm gonna start with my elbows by my side again, hips are flat this time, no hip hinge. I'm gonna reach arms forward. Like I'm serving a dish and then pull the elbows back to my sides. Arms reach, serve your dish and then pull back to your sides.

So I'm trying to keep my hands flat. I don't want them to face each other at all. They're facing up to the ceiling and in four more because we're gonna add onto this and keeping the hands flat is big part of it, we have two more. Last one, this time, you're gonna reach your arms out and hold, you're gonna open your arms out, close them back in, bend into your sides and push out, open, close, and bend, stretch. So it's like, you're chopping with your pinkies as you close, doesn't have to go too wide.

Lunges a little bit wider than my shoulders. And then back in, two more and open, close, bend last one, open, close and in, sit back onto your heels. Hang up your straps. I'm gonna go into a long stretch. So we're gonna keep the same spring this red spring, if you wanna go up to a red and a blue that's all right hands on the foot bar, kind of toward the front.

So you don't bend at your wrist too much. Feet are gonna go on the crevice where the head rest meets the carriage. Find that long plank position, shoulders away from the ears, long neck. I'm gonna push back and then bring it forward. Just go as far as you can control it back and then forward.

So you're like a dark staying in one long line. Nothing's shifting, two more, pulling into the abdominals last one and then control it down to your knees feet against the shoulder wrist. Really get a nice stretch on your feet. And then you're gonna push your hips forward. Open your chest for down stretch is gonna push back from your arms again as you come in, lift the chest up, think of sternum up to the ceiling, push back, sternum up as you pull in, two more, keep pulling into your abdominals.

Find that support, one more. Now with control, you're gonna lift up into your obstruct position. So you're on the balls of your feet. Heels are about halfway up the shoulder rests and your weight's back toward your heels. So I'm gonna come into a plank first keeping my eyes on my navel.

Once I'm in this plague position keeping my upper back grounded I'm gonna come forward over the foot bar. And then once I'm at the stopper I'm gonna pull my hips back into my abs stretch position to start so back into a plank, the rounded upper body, pull into the stopper and then diving my head between my arms pulling my weight back out to the plank, control forward, move in the shoulders to come back, one more. Pull in and then hips come back and up, keeping the hips where they aren't just gonna lower my feet. So they're flat for elephant. You can lift your toes up if you'd like I like my toes flat personally, pull up in your quads around your back and then push the heels back.

Abs pull them forward back, try to pull it all the way into that stopper. And then really focused on pulling your navel into your spine, It's really easy to achieve with this ladder spring to kind of just go through the movements, one more. I'm gonna challenge it a bit. We're gonna go into an air bus. So one foot stays against the shoulder wrist.

The other leg is gonna come out to the side. You're gonna reach it back. Try to keep your hips square. Keep pulling up on the quad on that standing leg as you pushed back. And so I'm trying to keep the leg that's in the air stable or still just the leg that's on the carriage is moving.

Try to have your weight even in both hands, we all like to shift over to one side. So try to keep it as even as you can, two more hips are square, last one and then bring that leg down. Other leg is gonna come up, square hips reach that leg long, push leg out, and in, pulling up into the quads, pulling up into the abdominals. Keep checking your hands, make sure your weights even on both hands you're not favoring one side, last two and last one bring that foot down and then we're gonna come on off. So shake out your wrists.

We're gonna go into long backstretch. So for this one, I'm actually gonna make it a little bit heavier just cause I haven't done it in a while and it's a little bit more challenging for me. So we're gonna face the back of the reformer. I like to sit on here just to make sure I have my wrists in the right spot. And then feet are gonna go right up against the shoulder rests.

Try to get them as much as you can, push up out of the shoulders. You're gonna push the carriage out bend the arms down, hips come back and then stretch up. So push, bend, in, up one more in this direction, bend, reverse spin into a dip, push out, lift the hips up and then back, bend down, push out, hips come up and in last one, bend, push out, hips come up and in, come on off, shake out your wrists. I'm gonna prepare for some standing exercises. So we're gonna go into some standing side splits.

So I'm gonna take off one blue spring. So I'm left with just the red and then I'm gonna lower the foot bar down. So it's out of the way. And then I like to move this extra part on the inside. So that way I have somewhere for my foot to go.

So step onto the stable side first and then onto the moving carriage and during my hands on my hips and then think of reaching the tailbone down. So that way I don't arch my back. So shoulders are down. Abs are pulled up, standing up nice and tall and I'm just gonna push out as wide as I can and then control it back in again pushing out and then back in. So I've noticed a lot of people when they do this they tend to not come all the way in but I like to make sure I really get to that stopper.

Cause there's always that extra little inch where you could work, so out, make sure you're not letting your tailbone come back keep pulling it under one more. Good, now I'm gonna bend my knees into a squat. I have my weight toward my heels. I'm gonna keep my weight over the foot on the platform. And then I'm gonna push out for a speed skater and push out and try to get as low into a squat as you can, keeping the hips stable.

We have four and three. You can bring your hands wherever you'd like. If you like prayer position or behind your back also an option. Good come all the way up. And then we're gonna come on down and then walk over to the other side.

So foot goes on to the stable platform. First, then up onto the carriage, hands on your hips, wherever you like it. Tailbone reaching down, pull up in the quad. So you don't lock your knees and just push out as wide as you can and then all the way in. So as you're moving out and in try to keep all parts of your foot on the carriage in on the platform.

So you're not rolling in. Think of lifting those arches up, pushing out and back in. Think of using the outer leg and the hips to push out. And then the inner thighs pull you in. We have two more, relaxing the shoulders, last one, good, bend in to a squat and the weights toward the heels.

Make sure the knees are in line with the toes and then your weights over the platform like and you'll push out and in for a speed skater. So try not to go with that leg. You're just letting it go out and in you're still keeping your weight over the other leg. We have two more, try to get a little bit deeper into that squat and then come all the way in come on up and then come on down. So for our Russian splits I'm gonna move this part of the foot bar back.

And then, cause I haven't done it in a while. I'm gonna do one red and a blue. If you wanted to stick with one red, that's also an option. I'm gonna bring my hands onto the shoulder rests one foot's gonna go on the corner of the frame or the foot bar, the other foot I'm gonna bring into the center of the headrest where the headrest meets the carriage into a nice 90 degree angle or as close to 90 degrees as I can get with this front leg the back leg is slightly turned out. Make sure the outer edge of the foot is connected.

You can stay here or if you wanna test your balance you can bring the opposite arm forward same arm as leg in front, out to the side try to keep that nice lunge and then push the leg out and in push out and in, so keep that back leg strong out and in should feel a nice hip flexor stretch on that back leg as well. While you're working your balance. Two more last one with control bring your hands back down to the shoulder rest, bring that foot back and then you can bring the other leg forward. So switching sides, backs foot's gonna go onto the corner of the foot bar. That front leg is gonna kind of step forward onto the crevice of the headrest and the carriage find that nice lunge back leg is nice and strong.

And if you'd like to test your balance, go for it. By bringing that arm opposite arm forward same arm as leg out to the side, find that nice deep lunge, keeping your head at the same level. You're gonna push the front leg out and in. So I'm trying to keep my shoulders and hips as squares, I can obviously the back hips gonna be open a little bit but I'm still trying to angle everything forward. Four more, three, two, last one, with control lower down the hands.

Bring that front foot back and then bring the back foot forward and come on off, we're gonna finish with a scooter, a little scooter progression. So bring the foot bar back up. I'm gonna keep the same springs and then I'll do this side first. So you can see my standing leg. So I'm gonna have my standing leg toward the center of the carriage, back leg against the shoulder rest.

I want this knee up for the first set. We're gonna hold onto the foot bar. So keeping a flat back bottom leg is slightly bent so it's not locked. I'm just gonna push a leg out and in out and in, so I'm still using my dominoes to control the leg in, back of the leg is pushing the carriage back. Two more out and in good, now I'm gonna take off this blue spring.

So I'm left with just one red. I'm gonna bend the standing leg a little bit more hands go on the hips and then test my balance as I push the leg out. And in this time you may not straighten your leg all the way and that's okay. Just go where you can. It's more for the balanced, less for the leg, pushing and in.

Two more. Now, if you wanna take it up another level we're gonna lift this standing heel up slightly. It doesn't have to go as high as you can go. Just a couple of inches off the ground. And then same thing here, pushed back and in it's gonna really test to see if you're on your leg.

Great for dancers, four more. And three, my legs are shaking too. Last one, bring that heel down, bring your knee down and then bring the standing leg to the front. You're gonna tuck your hips under push back into ease lunge. And get a nice stretch, earned it at least for this side because we still have one more side to go, come all the way in.

And then we're gonna walk over to the other side. Remember to add that blue spring back on for our scooter with the hands. So standing leg is halfway in the middle of the carriage. The leg on the carriage is red against the shoulder rest, long neutral spine. Bend that, sending the leg slightly and then push the leg back and in, for this one, since you do have your hands you can try to push that leg all the way back.

Really use your glutes. You use your hamstrings. Out and in, two more. Now I'm gonna take off the blue spring, bend that standing leg a little bit more hands on the hips. And from here we do the same thing we push out and then in, again, you won't go as far as you did with the hands on the foot bar and that's okay.

This is my challenging side. This might be your easy side. Two more, just keep breathing. Good, now from here, if you wanna test it a little bit harder, you're gonna lift the heel up just slightly and then push the leg out and in. Just find something to focus on.

That's not moving, it helps with balance Four more, I donno if you can tell but I'm shaking a lot last two and last one. Good, bring that heel down. Bring the knee down. Standing length comes all the way to the front. And you move tailbone coming down.

As you pushed back into your lunge and breath. One more deep breath come all the way in. And we made it legs might feel like jello. I know mine do, but we have one more class. I'll see you next time.

The Pilates Daily: A Class for Each Day of the Week: On the Reformer


Hello, excellent next lesson,thank you
2 people like this.
Thank you for the balance work! Big thanks for bringing new reformer classes back!
1 person likes this.
Great balance work; this one really sneaks up on you with the scooters at the end! Loved it. 
1 person likes this.
Hi Gia, I enjoyed your class, your teaching is so clear and efficient. I have always enjoyed watching classes in the past where you were demonstrating, so good to see you teach. ❤️
Dawn U
1 person likes this.
Excellent!  Great cueing.  Are you planning on expanding the length of your classes to 50-60 minutes?  I would love it if you did! P.s.  You are so cute.
1 person likes this.
Thank you so much, Dawn U! We had multiple requests for shorter Reformer classes so I filmed this series to meet the needs of the members who wanted it! I can definitely film longer classes in the future as well if you would like them!
Dawn U
2 people like this.
I would really enjoy longer classes filmed by you. 
John B
1 person likes this.
Wow ! That "hands flat" cue made a world of difference ! Gonna be much more aware now. Thnks !
1 person likes this.
Love your creativity, Gia Calhoun ! Would love to have some chair workouts with you!!
1 person likes this.
Loved this energizing quick workout. Thank you Gia!
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